METHODS: The PubMed database and Google scholar were browsed by keywords of 3-D printing, drug delivery, and personalised medicine. The data about techniques employed in the manufacturing of 3-D printed medicines and the application of 3-D printing technology in the fabrication of individualised medicine were collected, analysed and discussed.
RESULTS: Numerous techniques can fabricate 3-D printed medicines however, printing-based inkjet, nozzle-based deposition and laser-based writing systems are the most popular 3-D printing methods which have been employed successfully in the development of tablets, polypills, implants, solutions, nanoparticles, targeted and topical dug delivery. In addition, the approval of Spritam® containing levetiracetam by FDA as the primary 3-D printed drug product has boosted its importance. However, some drawbacks such as suitability of manufacturing techniques and the available excipients for 3-D printing need to be addressed to ensure simple, feasible, reliable and reproducible 3-D printed fabrication.
CONCLUSION: 3-D printing is a revolutionary in pharmaceutical technology to cater the present and future needs of individualised medicines. Nonetheless, more investigations are required on its manufacturing aspects in terms cost effectiveness, reproducibility and bio-equivalence.